Friday, February 4, 2011

Compassionate Service: The Original Chicken Soup for the Soul

My Mom called me last night to see if I had cash in the house, so I could tip the food delivery person who was going to be coming to my door to bring me dinner.  Mom lives too far away to actually bring her sick daughter dinner...but she would if she could.  Did she let that stop her?  No, certainly not!  She went online and ordered a full-course meal a la Dominoes Pizza!  Didn't know you could do that, did you?  Well, we live in such a time that technology can really help us to serve others.  It can also hinder us, if we let it eat away our time that we could be looking for ways to help the people who are right around us.

According to this article about Relief Society, the second mile is paved with innovation.  In other words, to go out of your way to meet the needs of others through service, you've sometimes got to think outside the box, get creative, think of a way to tailor your schedule for the day to include helping someone else.  

My friend Camilla did that today.  Some people are so good about hearing the needs of others.  Camilla and her family are that kind of people.  She realized I was sick when she called to talk to me today, and instead of moving on in the conversation, she immediately said, "I'm going to make you dinner tonight."  After a weak protest from me, she promised homemade chicken soup.  It arrived, special delivery--by her husband--at my doorstep by 1pm.  When I came out to find it at 3:45pm, it was still hot.  It also included homemade biscuits and cupcakes.

What did she have to drop out of her own schedule to make that happen?  I don't know, but I'm betting that she got creative and moved something around to make that possible.  I also know that she was prepared to serve.  This summer, she and her family canned carrots and chicken and probably the broth, making serving me in the middle of February a much easier task for her take on.

As I ponder what it took her...and my take time out of their busy schedules to help someone like me, my heart is really touched.  I am such an unworthy and selfish person.  I am weak in so many ways.  But to know that someone else thinks I'm worth loving, gives me hope that I can improve and contribute to others lives in a similar way.  This is a type of the hope that we all have because of Christ's sacrifice for each of us.  (After this, I'm going to drown my tears in another bowl of this delicious soup, and think about their amazing example a little while longer.)

Innovation defined:  the introduction of new things or new methods.  What new methods are we creating to serve others?  (Perhaps the old ways are new again?)

And finally...I'll be writing another book.  (Whatever combination of medicine I am on right now, it's really bringing me some good ideas!)  This book is going to be a cookbook of the best recipes to take to someone as compassionate service.  My grandma used to use that term all of the time.  I really don't hear it very frequently these days in the church, but according to the Handbook, compassionate service is at the very heart of Relief Society, and therefore, as women, it should be at the very heart of our lives.

If you want to be included in my cookbook entitled "Compassionate Service:  The Original Chicken Soup for the Soul", please send your very best recipes to  Please put "cookbook" in your subject line.  And if you have a cool story of service that goes with your recipe, please include it!  I'm going for that second bowl now.

Tune in tomorrow to find out who won to JBR Illustrations note cards....It might be YOU!


  1. So nice. THank you for sharing this...a nice reminder that it isn't all about ME.

  2. Your cookbook will host meals that are the very definition of comfort food. Neat idea!

    And that soup and roll look amazingly good!


  3. I know for a FACT that the soup must have been amazing;)

  4. I have been compassionate service leader twice now, and everytime I went to assign someone to do something, it was done.

    I for one know that the Lord will help his children.

    It is amazing.

    (looking forward to the recipe it going to be pdf or printed?)

  5. You were reading my mind or I was reading yours. I was just taking a photo for a post I wrote yesterday to publish on Monday (nothing like making things more confusing) titled "love in collapsible tupperware." Of course you have expressed it more eloquently. Love the cookbook! Hope you feel better soon.

  6. What a great idea for a cookbook! I never thought I'd say this, but I LOVE cookbooks! AllisonK's post on Monday would be a great name for the book, maybe Allison will let you use it! ;)

    I LOVE this post, it made me cry, because of all the love. The things your Mom and friend did for you are simple, but meant so much. I could definitely feel that in your post.

    Our furnace is broken right now, it will be fixed tomorrow (YAY!!) but, it's been completely dead for 2 days now, and before that it was off and on since Christmas! I put a quick message on facebook about space heaters and within 30 minutes or so I had FIVE! I responded saying thank you and that we were good. Well, 2 more neighbors showed up with even more space heaters, it was so nice to feel their love!

    Thanks again!

  7. Love this post, I now know I can order a meal to be delivered to anyone I know that is in need of a meal throughout the states that separate us...awesome.

  8. That is going to be a great book! what a good post today.

  9. sorry to hear you are sick...but don't let me hear you putting yourself down again about being "unworthy and selfish" as your blog and activities testify there. Lol! Get well soon. Love, Aunt Lin

  10. Oh how I love Relief Society. I've recently started reading "Women of Covenant, The Story of Relief Society" I'm only in the first section where the authors discuss the Relief Society in the embryonic days of the organization. I'm so motivated by the stories of compassionate service and "get it done" attitude the sisters had in those early days.

  11. Okay, LOVE the cookbook. You rock, yet again. And go Mom, ordering Dominoes! :)

  12. I miss the days when RS was all about compassionate service. I feel like the worldly idea that women need to take care of themselves first and foremost has really taken a hold of LDS women. Enrichment always seems to be about something silly and fluffy, not spiritually uplifting, or service focused, or skills teaching. And then we wonder why no one wants to come to meetings...

    I was really disappointed to realize that our ward doesn't do compassionate service for pregnant or new mothers. No meals rota. What!?

    Women who do compassionate service have to take TIME to do it-time away from hobbies, projects, causes, jobs, volunteer work etc. It just seems so few of us are willing to do that now. When I was a girl my image of RS was a group of sisters that took care of the needs of those in the ward. My mom was constantly baking and delivery casseroles. Now as a woman myself I'm saddened to never see my ward participate at that level. Someone has to be in SERIOUS need before we help (like having major surgery and no husband-if she was just having major surgery that wouldn't be good enough if she had a husband).

    Sorry for the long comment, I have been thinking about this a lot. I love the idea of a cookbook on compassionate service meals-easy, cheap, fast-it would make service that much easier! Great idea!

  13. Jocelyn i love everything that you write and post but this is my favorite.

    Very enlightening and inspiring.

    Thank you dear. I hope you stay healthy. I dont remember when exactly last week but i prayed for you very specifically for energy and good health. Love you.

  14. "the second mile is paved with innovation", I've never heard that, but how true!

    Also, I have to agree with Kimberly...dinners are a simple way to serve, especially for those who don't know what else to do but want to show they care.